How Sexist Is Artificial Intelligence?


BIf you move on social networks, you can’t avoid them: artistic portraits of users who sometimes appear as comic heroes, sometimes as ethereal fairies. Behind the hype is Lensa, an app that uses artificial intelligence (AI) to create portraits of users.

From 2018 The Lensa app at the end of the day is actually a photo editing app for mobile phones that is supposed to facilitate edits like retouching and adding colorful backgrounds.

In late November, Prisma Labs added the Magic Avatar feature to its editing app, and it’s been topping the download charts ever since. It has been viewed over ten million times Google Play Downloaded from the Apple Store, it is the number one most downloaded app in the Photos & Videos category of the Apple App Store.

The highest grossing program in the US

Although the app is free, it is now the best-selling app in the United States: US customers spent $8.2 million on the app in the first five days of December, according to American analytics company Sensor Tower.

Depending on the size of the package, creating avatars costs up to 15 euros. A pack can contain 200 images. The user pays before the user knows what images the AI ​​has created. While some features require an annual subscription, “magic avatars” always require a separate payment.

The image generator AI Stable Diffusion runs behind Lensa, which creates photorealistic text-to-image images in a truly free and accessible model. Stable Diffusion uses billions of images from the internet as a source.

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The ideal is a typical Western concept of beauty

In order to create a “magic avatar”, the user has to feed the AI ​​portrait photos of themselves. From this she creates paintings in different styles, for example as comics or as watercolors, sometimes realistic, sometimes as fantastic characters. The variety seems limitless.

But what all the results have in common is that they present people in a very useful way. Imperfections are smoothed out, skin looks plump and wrinkle-free, lips and hair full. In short: the portraits correspond to the ideal typical Western idea of ​​beauty. This is not the only reason why many of the images created have been criticized.

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